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For many parents, the issue of providing financial support for their children is an emotionally charged one. Most parents want to provide for their kids and help them grow up in a safe and secure environment, but parents may not agree on how to go about doing so. This is why Colorado courts put child support orders in place. And when it comes to determining what counts as child support, the law is clear: gifts do not count towards child support payments.

How Child Support Is Determined in Colorado

In Colorado, child support is calculated based on several factors, including the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the parenting time each parent is assigned. The state uses an income-shares model to calculate support payments, which means that each parent’s income is considered when determining how much should be paid. Both parents' incomes are combined to produce a total amount that can then be divided between them. This figure is then used to determine how much each parent should contribute each month to cover their share of the total cost of raising the child.

The court will also consider any special expenses associated with caring for the child, such as medical costs or educational fees, when determining the amount of child support owed. Any changes in either parent’s financial situation could influence their monthly payments; if one parent experiences a significant increase or decrease in income, it could result in a change in their contribution amounts.

Why Gifts Do Not Count as Child Support

The primary reason why gifts are not considered part of child support is that gifts represent voluntary acts of generosity rather than legally binding obligations. Gifts are seen by courts as something extra that the parent provides out of love, generosity, or kindness. Gifts cannot be expected on an ongoing basis from either parent and aren’t enforceable by law.

Child support is defined as the amount of money that a parent or both parents are legally obligated to provide for their children’s needs. This includes basic necessities like food, clothing, and housing, as well as educational and medical expenses. It also covers any additional costs that may arise from a child’s extracurricular activities, such as sports and music lessons. Gifts – even for regular occasions like birthdays – are not included in this calculation.

Gifts may certainly help to provide children with extra comfort or enjoyment, but they are not included in the legal definition of child support. Therefore, for the purposes of determining how much money either parent should be contributing to the care of their children, gifts do not count.

How Gifts Can Impact Child Support

However, there is a way that gifts can impact child support. While gifts given to your children are not counted toward child support obligations, monetary gifts given to parents can impact child support calculations. It's important to understand that a person's income for the purposes of child support go beyond mere wages.

Colorado Revised Statutes 14.10.115 includes "monetary gifts" as a factor that can be included when calculating a person's income. This means that the payor's obligation may be increased or reduced if either party receives monetary gifts. If you believe your child’s other parent has received a significant monetary gift that could impact child support calculations, you should reach out to an experienced family law attorney who can help you to navigate any potential modification to your current child support order.

How Clawson & Clawson, LLP Can Help

Determining child support can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce or separation. That’s why it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who understands the intricacies of Colorado family law. At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, we are committed to providing compassionate and effective legal services to help you navigate the complexities of family law.

If you have questions about how gifts may affect your child support obligation, contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP online or call us at (719) 602-5888.